This week I’m chatting with international dressage rider and four-time Belgian pony and junior champion Jette De Jong. Based in Belgium , Jette is now competing at Young Rider and looks set for even more success. Read on to discover more about Jette, her ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us about you
I am now eighteen years old and I live in and compete for Belgium, horse riding has become a lifetime and it is my biggest passion. I´ve competed internationally since 2017 and I have been a member of the Belgium team since 2018. I am 4-time Belgian Champion in the pony and junior classes and in 2022 vice champion in the young rider’s class.
My horses, Heavenly Charming and Indini, are the ones who gave me the most success, we have won plenty of international competitions and became 9th at the European championships Juniors 2020-2021. They have already made so many of my dreams come true.
How did your horses come into your life?
Heaven, Indi, Oh So Charming and Royal Charming were born at home, they are cousins and brothers of each other. With Heaven I first competed in 2019 to get some experience in the junior class. How my partnership with Indi started is quite a funny story, during coronavirus I had lots of free time because school was cancelled so I wanted to ride as many horses as I could so I stole Indi from my father and it worked out pretty well.
My young mares are bought, and we are training them for the future.
When and where do you ride?
Every day at home, I love to ride in the morning, waking up going straight to my horses is a perfect start of the day. I spend all day outside riding and taking care of all the horses.
How did you start riding?
I started riding when I was three on my pony, my parents already had a lot of experience with horses, so it was not a surprise that I was a horse lover as well.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Mostly gaining strength, keeping them supple and of course trying to educate them to get better and better every day.
With my young horses it´s mostly keeping them balanced, supple, soft in hand and very effective on the aids.
What do you love about riding?
The bond you have with your horse and to see the results of all the training together.
Especially when hard work pays off in the arena, it gives me so much satisfaction.
My horses love to work for me!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would love to keep on educating and competing horses, to make this my work would be a dream.
For this year the goal is to ride successfully the Young rider division with both my horses and in the future I hope to ride grand prix and keep on competing at nice international shows.
And if I dream very big, competing at the Olympics is my biggest dream.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes, when I was younger I always looked a lot at other people in the warm up and got nervous because of it, but through the years and with mental training I can say I barely have nerves now.
How do you deal with them?
I know my horses can do what they need to do in the test, that is what really calms me down, we trained for it, and it went easy at home, so why stress?
Your Top Tip
Think about every exercise, when one thing fails, not the whole test is bad, try to do next exercises perfect!
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I already am so blessed with the horses of my dreams but if I had to choose Glamourdale or Dalera, it all looks so easy, it´s beautiful to see how active the horses are on the smallest aids.
Who is your equestrian hero?
My trainer Anky van Grunsven.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Charlotte Fry, Anne van Olst, Cathrine Dufour, Jessica von Bredow and Isabell Werth
Favourite colour horse?
Grey or a black beauty!
Favourite horse event?
The CHIO Aachen where Heaven and I got invited last year to compete in the CDIYR, everything there was so fantastic.
The ´Abschied Der Nationen´ was the most special moment, in front of 43,000 people with my Heaven.
A spicy Caesar Salad with parmesan.
Favourite way to relax?
Spending time with my boyfriend.
If you enjoyed meeting Jette you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Jette’s progress and check out her instagram page here